By Comrade Anye, Black Hammer Times Staff
All colonized people should know that the u.s. pig force is designed to uphold a system of racialized violence. During these times of escalating protests in response to the lynching of George Floyd, it is important to combat the moderate narrative of: “not all cops.”
This narrative has only become increasingly aggravating to those who have spent years organizing against police violence and state oppression.
Cops are not heroes and are not a permanent fixture in society. Black and colonized people are creative and resourceful, so close your eyes and envision what justice would look like in a world without cops.
Picture a scenario where a close friend gets shot at a house party. This would obviously be a situation where emotions are high, and a lot of observers’ first reaction would be to call 911.
When called on colonized people, the cops never come to de-escalate and are infamous for flipping even the most peaceful interactions into an opportunity to enact state-funded violence, even on the people that called them in the first place.
Instead, we could train people from within the community to detect and interrupt potentially violent situations. Community members could be sent to the home of the shooting, the hospital and the victim’s home to mediate and hopefully prevent further violence.
Unarmed mediation has been successful in communities that, due to colonial conditions, have high crime rates through organizations such as Cure Violence.
Despite that extreme example it is important to realize that violent crimes only make up a small percentage of the tens-of-millions of arrest the police make every year.
While the western justice system will never willingly decriminalize the majority of non-violent crimes, it would be very possible to educate the community on what should be treated as a crime and what should not.
Many of the reasons people call the police could easily be handled without police intervention. Victimless crimes, such as noise violations and drug use, can be handled with effective communication between community members.
For crimes with victims such as theft and domestic disputes, we can learn from indigenous and afro-descendant communities where restorative justice has been used for centuries without issue.
Through use of the restorative justice process, accountability is understood by the community and the victim as well as the perpetrator are restored and transformed in the process.
The ultimate goal is to keep colonized people out of chains and cages; the restorative justice process is the best alternative to a court system riddled with bias.
Black Hammer builds accountability for revolutionaries
In an interview with the International Institute for Restorative Practices, Robert Yazzie, Chief Justice Emeritus of the Navajo nation, beautifully gives an example of his nation’s version of restorative justice that they call Navajo Common Law. He says:
“Let’s say you and I got into a squabble, and you hit me over the head. In the Western world, you would be called a defendant in a criminal proceeding and would create a bad name for yourself. The Western law way is to punish you, so that you don’t repeat the behavior. But the Navajo way is to focus on the individual. You separate the action from the person. The Holy People say that the human being is a creation of the Holy People, and we have no part, we cannot destroy the human being or change it to something else. It’s not within our authority to do that. In fact what you must do is respect yourself, because you are the creation of the Holy People. If you and I were to squabble and I sued you for criminal liability, civil liability, the Diyin Dine’é would say you should be respected. What is not respected is what you did.”
In a society dictated by the colonized proletariat, justice seeks to teach and transform rather than ostracize.
While it is true that, through the restorative justice process, democracy and justice are handled on a community level, it is important to know that this IS NOT just a masked replacement for the criminal justice system.
It is solely to build a safer, more politically-educated community.
Steps to take in your own communities
Some might ask: How do you force someone to accept accountability? One answer is: community patrols, which when properly educated, have seen a lot of success in the short-term especially in places where cops are clearly the criminals in the community.
In finding community alternatives to the police, it is necessary to address the mental health crisis within the united snakkkes.
In many prisons, people with mental illness make up a good percentage of the population and even actual mental health institutions themselves are just another means of social control.
If community members with mental health illness are understood and supported within the community it can help them avoid being locked up or even killed by the overly violent police force.
Alternatives to relying on the cops exist, and there is the potential to create more.
How does one start?
Shift perspectives. Learn and teach on the racist history of the modern-day slave patrol that is the u.s. police force. People must question themselves before dialing 911 and make different decisions where they can.
When it comes down to it, all this starts with meeting people where they are. Let’s build an impenetrable wall of trust where colonized people rely on each other rather than the state to handle their intrapersonal issues.
Talk to people, get to know your neighbors, ask them to be a part of the process. A community free of police violence is a way more realistic goal then they would ever want you to believe.